Ask a Bastard: Zombie War Edition

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Last week, Kristin asked:
Is it possible for zombie dogs to exist?

The unthinking, uncaring and lame answer would be NO. I believe that I am a thinker, I do care and I try not to be lame…so this question gets a better answer.

To the best of my understanding, in traditional Zombie Realities, animals do not become zombies. I believe in some specific stories, animals maybe vectors for zombism (I seem to remember mosquito passing it on in some story. The XBox game Dead Rising used wasps as the zombie vector). These examples appear to be the exception, not the rule.

I believe that The Resident Evil series is the Zombie Reality that made the modern the Zombie Dog. Of course, there are the evil undead pets from Stephen King’s Pet Semetery, but I’m not convinced those are actually zombies. Just because a dead thing comes back to life does not mean that said dead thing is a zombie.

There has been a bunch of research on reanimated dogs, specifically for cryogenics, but those aren’t zombies. These reanimated dogs did not appear to crave brains or survive all sorts of trauma (save head trauma). They were just regular dogs brought back to a true living state.

Personally, I think a traditional zombie setting (slow moving, spread through bites and fluid) ala World War Z would not allow for zombie dogs. This is the setting I prefer. I prefer ZombieApocolypse to ZombieScienceRunAmok.

That being said, given the changing definition of Zombie (the fast Zombie being a newer mutation) I think it is POSSIBLE to have a zombie dog. A zombie dog, specifically watching a living dog turn to a zombie dog, could be an incredibly sad and powerful moment (Seriously, who wasn’t upset at that part in I Am Legend?) but for the most part, I think it tends towards kitsch and, “look, we’re a different kind of Zombie flick!”

TLDR version:
I prefer Zombie Realities where there are no zombie animals, however, some Zombie realities do allow for Zombie dogs. I think they can be done well but most times, they are not (Resident Evil being a huge exception).

This answer, however, needs more clarification. I Want my nerd brothers and sisters to weigh on on this. So, I open the floor to discussion: Zombie Dogs?

8 thoughts on “Ask a Bastard: Zombie War Edition

  1. Brains are brains.
    Realistically, if zombies want to eat brains they’re gonna eat animals just as much as people. This means there will be animals who are bit, but are able to get away.

    This means we will have animals who have the ‘virus’ or whatever the transmission vector is. So at best they’d be carriers. At worst they’d be zombies.

    I have a hard time recalling (outside of Resident Evil) of animals actually sticking around once the Zombie Hordes begin their rampage.

    Up high (second on the list) in fact with my fear of running zombies is my fear of animal zombies. Insects as carriers would be the worst case scenario, there would be no survival for mankind.

  2. Realistically (‘though I have a really hard time using that word in the same sentance as zombies…), I wouldn’t think you would have zombie animals, as generally speaking, animal diseases don’t correspond directly to human diseases, and vice versa. In terms of pure horror, yes. Zombie animals are right up there with zombie children for spine-tingling terror.

    Seriously, what could be more horrifying than a beloved pet or your favorite child suddenly whirling around for a quick chunk out of your arm?

  3. As far as real(Romero) zombies are concerned, most animals would easily elude them. If it were easier prey, like a sick or wounded animal, the zombies would likely devour the whole animal. If one got away with just a bite, I don’t think it would turn if only for the fact that in five films it wasn’t explored as far as I can remember.

    Conversely, if you feel zombism is to humans as rabies is to animals, then you can look to Cujo, Old Yeller, and that scene in To Kill a Mockingbird for actual zombie dogs.

  4. “Frankenweenie” is a terrible example for dog zombies, if only because that film makes me think it might be okay to reanimate Clem when she dies. I have been told this is not allowed. Perhaps Frankenweenie begs another question too- are zombies just misunderstood?

  5. Zombies are not misunderstood. They are to be exterminated. Reanimated corpses are not zombies. Reanimated corpses have issues and internal struggles. Zombies do not question their existence they just are. Have you ever heard of a zombie befriending a blind man or playing with a little girl? No you have not because the zombie brain is incapable of any feeling besides hunger. That’s why when one of the survivors goes down you better get em before they turn. There is no recognition of previous human life.
    I say again only hunger.

    Now with assumption that the zombie outbreak happens due to some pathogen and not any supernatural voodoo, and I mean voodoo literally chicken feet and all. It is rare for a disease to jump from human to animal, and would the disease manifest in the same way if it did make the jump? Where I do not rule out zombie dogs the idea of a human zombie infecting an animal slow fast or otherwise seems highly unlikely.

    Fulci’s movie Zombi 2 has a scene where in a zombie encounters a shark.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080057/synopsis

    Zombie sharks now that is fucking terrifying.

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